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Turkish Opposition Criticises Deal to Tackle Flow of Migrants to Britain

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party, CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Thursday described the new deal between the Turkish and British governments to curb illegal migration to the UK as “seriously problematic”.

“No matter how much it is packed with fancy words, it is someone else’s intervention in our internal system. Who is governing Turkey?” Kilicdaroglu asked.

The migration deal announced by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak aims to cut migrant flows from Turkey, which has become one of the major transit points for migrants and refugees.

Sunak has repeatedly vowed to reduce the number of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats from France to reach the UK, which has become a major political issue in Britain.

“Today, we’ve secured a new agreement with Turkey to: Disrupt small boat supply chains; tackle organised immigration crime; increase intelligence sharing,” Sunak wrote on Twitter on August 9.

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman said that Ankara and London will conduct joint police and intelligence operations in Turkey aiming “to smash the people-smuggling gangs and stop boats”.

However, the Turkish government has so far said nothing about the deal announced by Sunak.

Opposition leader Kilicdaroglu also expressed concern that the deal might be followed by a readmission deal similar to the 2016 Turkey-EU refugee deal, leaving millions of refugees in Turkey in return for money and projects.

“It is also written in the British press that a similar readmission agreement with the EU will be made between Turkey and the UK after this,” he said.

After Kilicdaroglu’s comments, the Turkish Interior Ministry made a statement but gave no details about the deal between London and Ankara.

The ministry said that there is cooperation with many countries to combat migrant-smuggling and irregular migration, as well as with the UK.

According to Turkish government data, Turkey hosts more than four million refugees and migrants, but experts and the opposition say the number is much more than that and some estimates go up to ten million.

To escape their country’s political and economic crises, Turkish citizens have also been migrating to Europe illegally in growing numbers.

In the first seven months of this year, 1,486 Turkish nationals crossed the English Channel to the UK on small boats, becoming the second most common nationality to do so behind Afghans, according to British Home Office figures.

Sunak’s Conservative government, which is struggling in the opinion polls, has made the fight against illegal crossings one of its main policies.

His government signed similar agreements with Albania and Bulgaria before Turkey.

Source : Balkan Insight